Have you ever noticed that your Apple iPhone is getting a bit slower after a year or so? If you’ve not downloaded any new apps or even been using your phones to lesser extent, but still everything seems slower? If yes, then you’re not alone. There are many users who’ve been sharing these anecdotes over the years. But it seems, this is happening on purpose.
According to The Verge, Geekbench developer John Poole has mapped out performance for iPhone 6S and iPhone 7 over time, and has concluded that Apple's iOS 10.2.1 and 11.2.0 updates introduce this throttling for various devices. Means, Apple downgrades the device performance after its battery has hit a certain number of recharge cycles. This is because of a problem that Apple experienced in past with iPhone batteries that have caused the smartphones to shut down unexpectedly when they still had remaining battery life.
Moreover, iOS 10.2.1 is particularly relevant, as the update was designed to reduce random shutdown issues for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6S. Geekbench also reports that iOS 11.2.0 introduces similar issues for iPhone 7. Apple's fix appears to be throttling the CPU to prevent the phone from randomly shutting down.
However, some Reddit users have reported that replacing their batteries has returned performance and CPU clock speeds back to normal.
Apple spoke to Quartz on the following issue. The statement reads:
Our goal is to deliver the best experience for customers, which includes overall performance and prolonging the life of their devices. Lithium-ion batteries become less capable of supplying peak current demands when in cold conditions, have a low battery charge or as they age over time, which can result in the device unexpectedly shutting down to protect its electronic components.
Last year we released a feature for iPhone 6, iPhone 6s and iPhone SE to smooth out the instantaneous peaks only when needed to prevent the device from unexpectedly shutting down during these conditions. We’ve now extended that feature to iPhone 7 with iOS 11.2, and plan to add support for other products in the future.
Apple claims that they’ve introduced this feature as a benefit to their customers. It prolongs the life of the phone, even if it means using a slowed-down phone.